Can I Use My Arizona Contractors License in California?

Given California’s close proximity to Arizona, and its constant construction growth of ~17% every year, it’s a tantalizing prospect for Arizona contractors to grow their business and expand operations into California.

But can you work as a contractor in California if you only have an Arizona contractors license? And if so, what do you have to do to get there?

Let’s find out!

Contractor Licenses and Reciprocity Agreements

As you know, contractor licenses are legal permits that allow individuals or companies to undertake construction-related projects within the regulations and rules of the issuing state.

These licenses ensure that contractors adhere to professional standards and regulations with the ultimate goal of protecting consumers from unscrupulous contractors.

In the United States, each state has its distinct regulatory authority for contractor licensing. The two agencies that handle contractors licenses in these states are the Arizona Registrar of Contractors and California’s Contractors State License Board (CSLB).

The Reciprocity Agreement: Arizona and California

Here’s the good news: as an Arizona contractor, you can easily and quickly begin working as a contractor in California through a process known as a Reciprocity Agreement.

This agreement enables a seamless transition for licensed contractors from Arizona to work in California, albeit with certain conditions.

Per the CSLB, here’s the reciprocity requirements for Arizona contractors:

  1. The contractor must be applying for a license in a classification that appears on California’s Reciprocal Classifications List.
  2. The contractor must have held an active license in good standing in Arizona for the previous five years.
  3. The contractor must submit to CSLB the Request for Verification of License form completed by the Arizona Registrar of Contractors.
  4. The contractor must complete the Application for an Original Contractor’s License in California​​.

These requirements ensure that Arizona contractors have a proven track record of professionalism and competence before they can operate in California.

Exploring the Steps to Obtain a California Contractors License

Now that you know what and why, here’s how you can quickly and easily get your California contractors license as an Arizona contractor.

  1. Verify You Can Transfer Your License Classification: Ensure your Arizona license classification matches one on California’s Reciprocal Classifications List.
  2. Gather Evidence of Good Standing: You should have held an active license in good standing in Arizona for the last five years. Be prepared to provide documentation.
  3. Submit Verification Form: Complete the ‘Request for Verification of License’ form, which must be validated by the Arizona Registrar of Contractors, and submit it to the CSLB.
  4. Apply for a California License: Complete and submit the ‘Application for Original Contractor’s License’ to the CSLB.

Remember, the goal is to ensure a high standard of professional competency among contractors operating in California. Therefore, these steps are designed to validate your credentials and professional standing.\


While the process of using an Arizona contractor’s license in California involves jumping through some bureaucratic hoops, it’s entirely possible and manageable. The important thing is to ask if it’s worth it to expand into new territory. 

While California is certainly ripe with opportunities for contractors, it’s also extremely competitive. You may consider staying in Arizona if you have a strong presence in the local community, rather than upping sticks to carve out an entirely new niche – a process that could take years.

With proper planning and understanding of the requirements, Arizona contractors can expand their services to California, providing an opportunity to grow their business and reach new clients.

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About CSLS

Contractors State License Service (CSLS) is the largest school in California devoted to the Construction professional. For over 23 years, CSLS has helped its students pass the exam to become licensed contractors in the State of California, licensing more students than any other school. From our main offices in Southern California, CSLS operates over 25 locations with full-service support and classrooms. We have grown to this extent by providing quality, professional services. In comparison, this provides 7 times the number of convenient locations than the second largest contractor school. Contractors State License Services is one of the only contractor schools in the state that is run by educators, not lawyers or people mostly interested in the bonding and insurance business. Contractors State License Services formerly operated under the oversight of the State of California's Bureau for Private Post Secondary and Vocational Education. As of January 1 2010, the new Bureau for Private Postsecondary Education (BPPE) came into existence replacing the BPPVE. CSLS now operates under the provisions of the California Private Postsecondary Education Act of 2009 (CPPEA), Article 4 Section 94874(f). Our Mission is simple; We can help you pass your California Contractors License Exam. Celebrating our 25th year, CSLS has helped over 120,000 students pass the California contractor licensing exam to become licensed contractors in the State of California. Additionally, we offer complete home study and online contractor’s license programs to help you pass your California contractors license exam. CSLS offers licensing classes for all types of contractor licenses, including General Engineering Contractor, General Building Contractor, Specialty Contractor, Insulation and Acoustical Contractor, Framing and Rough Carpentry Contractor, Cabinet, Millwork and Finish Carpentry Contractor, Concrete Contractor, Drywall Contractor, Electrical Contractor, Elevator Contractor, Landscaping Contractor, Warm-Air Heating, Ventilating and Air-Conditioning Contractor, and many others. For a complete list of contractor licenses, visit and tuned for more informative posts.